The night prior a group had 'chalked' the sidewalks in grant park with non-malice laced messages such as:
"We want to hear the show"
"Hate Speech ( not = sign ) Free Speech"
"Ha. Ha. PK, you kill me" ( with a cyclist dead body chalk outline )
"Safe Roads and Airwaves"
"KXJM is in the Doghouse"
"The people own 95.5 Mhz"
I showed up the day of the event around 10:30am to find radio station employees ineptly trying to get ride of the chalk with squirt bottles and super soakers. See attached photos. The station employees were being very arrogant and taunting of me which I admit had me a bit shaken. Still I was not going to turn back.
There is only 1 rest room in the park, so I set up next to it. Which proved to be a great place. I locked my bicycle to a swing set and started making signs with one of the the people who helped me chalk last night. We used face paint and a roll of white paper to make very large signs that read:
"NOT a target 95.5"
"Kids bike too"
"Let us hear the show"
Then we placed our bikes next to the restroom and taped the signs to the bicycles. As people came and went thought the day we would swap the signs on the bikes.
Around 11:30am the PPB showed up and I talked to Sgt. Morris and the detail Sgt., who is a bicycle officer and an avid cyclist off duty. They PPB appeared genuinely sympathetic about our frustration with the radio station. Maybe it was because I was treating the officers as fellow humans while Tim McNamara the General Manager of KXJM (if you want to leave a message for him about the following comment and fill up his voice mail box over the weekend his number is 503-243-7595, extension 216) was reported as angrily expressing his outrage for the cost to the City of Portland, Oregon for clean up of the chalk messages we wrote on the sidewalk.
After setting up the picnic area I moved one of the radio stations temporary trash cans, in which they had approximately 20 in the park, 30 feet to be next to us. A station employee quickly came over and said that the trash can had to be where it was. I said "Ok, but I can not guarantee someone else will move it later".
I then set up an information center of own with suckers, sun screen, bubbles, "I share the Road" stickers (courtesy of www.bikeportland.org) and a flier of our own next to the restrooms. Then I painted a sign that said "Free" and taped to the front. It is amazing how many little kids can read the word "Free". As they came over for the candy, fliers were passed out the parents. Some how the above mentioned trashcan above found it's way right next to the information stand.
I had brought a mobile sound system and we listened to music thought out the day. Even though I had the sound bites found on web.pdx.edu/~jasun/haters/index.html I felt it morally wrong to play them with so many children present.
Rachel and I put on our bicycle helmets and did a walk through to see what was going on. I asked for a sugar free soda from a station employee. In which he mentioned that they had none. He offer me a bottle of water but I told him "No, thanks you guys throw those at cyclists" (this was broadcast on Monday during the stations "pro-bike" show). He tried to say something but I was already walking away. Ok, I admit I set him up for that.
We then walked over to Costco who had a booth set up. I politely gave a lady one of our fliers and said this was for her and asked if she could read it. Then Rachel and I returned back to our picnic spot to visit with cyclists who were stopping by to say hi.
About 45 minuets before the event ended Rachel and I grabbed some chalk and started to chalk the sidewalk right next to the radio stations food booth and DJ's. The organizer lady was aghast and left to complain to the bicycle Sgt. in charge. As I chalked "95.5 Let us hear the show on 7-13-06" Rachel passed out fliers and talked to parents coming up to ask what was going on. As we left the radio station employees started to spray the chalking with squirt bottles. On our way back to the picnic area I asked the Sgt. in charge if every thing was cool. She said that she got a complaint and had to tell the lady that we had every right to chalk on the sidewalk. So Rachel and I turned around to keep chalking. As we got closer the radio station employees sheepishly quit spraying, which they are really inept at doing.
As I started to rechalk the I saw an interested little boy and gave him some chalk. He and I repaired the message for about 10 minuets as Rachel passed out fliers. The radio station employees were giving me the most nasty looks. I did not intend for the kid to help me. I initially gave him a piece of chalk for him to do with as he wanted. He honestly choose to help me.
The event ended and the families left. As the radio station employees were cleaning up we brought the mobile sound system and started to play the sound bites of the morning show. Half of the employees were very angry while the other half were embarrassed to hear the content playing so loud in the park. A group of 3 employees walked by looking angry. I told them "you know ... we could have played this while the families and children were here". The nodded their head in an unspoken thanks.
My goal was very much met with this picnic. It was very fun for the families and children and very uncomfortable for the radio station. The Portland Police were very understanding and fair.
This is where I need your help. Please visit the following website:
and choose for yourself if you want to file a complaint online to the FCC. It only takes 2 minuets and here is a cheat sheet:
Pressure must be placed on the radio station for them to quit treating citizens as a lower class and to provide us with the broadcast so that we can let the FCC hear it and decide if the station broke any laws.
If you know of any groups outside of the bicycling community in which has members unaware of this and wants to do help us fight Corporate dominance of our airwaves please email: email@example.com